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MONKODONJA - Archeological site

Although the exploration and the cataloguing of the Istrian fort hills Castellieri began at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, nothing had been known about the existence of the Monkodonja Fort hill before 1953 when its remains were found by the curators of the Istrian Pula Archeological Museum, Boris Bacic and Branko Marusic.

Monkodonja is only one of the 350 fort hills so far registered in Istria. The settlement was encircled by defensive walls 1 km long, 3 m wide and more than 3 m high - built in stone wall technique of blocks weighing more than a few tons.

The front and the back face of the wall were built of monumental blocks while the space in between was filled with smaller stones. The stones necessary for the building were excavated from the very building site at the top of the hill, at the same time creating space-terraces necessary for building the houses. There were two entrances to the settlement one from the north and one from the west. The western gate, which faced the nearby seashore, was the main entrance to the fort hill settlement. This gate, at the beginning only a simple passage through the wall, was later, due to the increasing danger of enemy attacks, reinforced and made a respectable peace of defensive fortification. This fortified gate not only served to prevent the enemies from entering the settlement, but had also the purpose of diverting their attacks. The northern gate is much simpler being, in reality, a narrow zigzag corridor leading in and out of the settlement.

The settlement was divided into three parts. On the very top of the hill there was the settlement acropolis encircled ba defensive walls. That there lived the richer families show the remains of bigger buildings made of stone and wood. Outside the acropolis there was the upper and the lower city with simpler houses and buildings for craftsmen's workshops.

It is estimated that 1000 people inhabited the settlement - quite a number for a prehistoric settlement of that kind.

During the exploration, which is still in course, many peaces of ceramic articles for everyday use along with a certain number of metal objects have been found, which have all helped to date the settlement in the period of the early Bronz Age, between 1000 and 1200 B.C.

Copyright Touristic association of Rovinj, text: D. Matosevic

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